Lillian wrote the powerful and moving P.O. BOX 1142 which is inspired by true historical events. It is the story of a Jewish interrogator stationed in a U.S. Nazi POW camp who learns that she must extract information from the high-ranking Nazi responsible for the death of her parents. The script is brilliantly crafted and takes such a unique look at the atrocities of World War II. As part of her prize for winning, Lillian's script will be recommended to WeScreenplay's partners at over 60 production and management companies.
Why did you write your winning script? What inspired the concept?
I am a history buff, so when I first learned about the secret military intelligence facility, codenamed “P.O. Box 1142,” on the CBS Sunday Morning show in September 2014, I was very excited and curious. I remember wondering what was going through the minds of these German-born American interrogators as they sat face to face with their mortal enemies who might have been responsible for interning their relatives in a concentration camp. The conflict, the pain, inherent in their emotionally challenging job is what drew me to the subject and inspired the concept for the script.
Who was the first person you told when you found out you won Diverse Voices?
My significant other!
What types of stories do you like to read or watch? What type of stories do you like to write?
I love the espionage genre and historical fiction and non-fiction, so those are the type of stories I like to write but character-driven. In terms of what I like to watch, I like pretty much anything with brilliant writing. Some of my favorite shows are: Turn, The Americans, Homeland, Game of Thrones, and The Crown.
If you had one piece of advice to give other writers, what would it be?
Read and write everyday!
How do you feel about the current state of diversity in entertainment? Do you feel like Hollywood is making improvements or only digging its heals into the way of the past?
I think Hollywood is making efforts, and with contests like Diverse Voices, I think the diversity climate will only improve over time.
What are the big and little successes you've had with writing?
Over the years, my other scripts have placed either as a finalist or semi-finalists in contests such as the PAGE International Screenwriting, the Creative Screenwriting Contest, Fade In, and the Telluride Screenwriting Contest. However, my most recent script P.O. Box 1142 is my most gratifying project.
Have you ever thought about giving writing up? Why didn't you?
Sure, I have thought about giving up, and I did for awhile to pursue other careers. However, there always existed an inner voice that secretly expressed a desire to be a writer given my love of the cinema and writing. Plus, as I looked back at my track record as an aspiring writer, the earlier contest wins have given me a certain validation of my potential and the encouragement to continue. I don’t regret the “detours” I have made in life, because I believe they have made me a better person and a better writer. I feel that I still have a lot of stories to tell, so I must stay loyal to my dream and never give up.
What's the most important part of your writing process?
The total immersion. What I mean by that is doing all the things that are necessary before the writing even begins plus more, e.g. the research, the character development, and the outlining. The character development is key, because my stories are character-driven. And because I have developed a passion for writing historical dramas, I go the extra step of immersing myself in the time period that I am writing by reading books and watching documentaries, shows, and movies about the era. And as I actually sit down to write, I listen to music that harkens back to that era. For example, when I was writing P.O. Box 1142, I listened repeatedly to the soundtracks of Schindler’s List and Band of Brothers. Being totally immersed in the subject I am writing is a critical part of my writing process.
Where will you be as a writer a decade from today?
An established writer known for her expertise in the espionage and historical drama genres.
For more information about the Diverse Voices competition, make sure to head over here and check it out.